28 September 2020.
28 September, International Right to Know Day, is a day when people around the world celebrate the importance of the right to access information held by public authorities (the right to information).
This year, International Right to Know Day also represents the 10th anniversary of the launch of the RTI Rating, which assesses the strength of right to information laws globally. In honour of this anniversary, CLD has published a Trends Snapshot highlighting the trends in RTI legislation globally, as shown by the RTI Rating data. We have also, as usual, updated country scores for the Rating. No new countries adopted RTI laws this year but a number of countries, including China and Zimbabwe, adopted new laws, while others made amendments to their legal frameworks.
“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the right to information both to ensure that people have the information they need to protect themselves and as a key accountability system,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director, CLD. “Governments should be treating this right as an essential service – part of the response to the crisis – rather than taking advantage of the crisis to limit it.”
CLD is also collaborating with Canadian information commissioners to host two webinars at the conference on Celebrating the Right to Know Across Canada. The first is on The Need for Access to Information Law Reform in Canada, given that a process of reforming the federal Access to Information Law is about to be launched. The other focuses on COVID-19’s Impact on Access to Information, looking at international better practices around protecting access to information during a crisis and the need for Canada to do more to ensure the realisation of this right.
Toby Mendel and Laura Notess, Legal Officer, CLD, delivered a joint keynote speech at the Scottish Public Information Forum’s celebration of International Right to Know Day on 24 September. The focus here, once again, was on COVID-19 and RTI, looking at the COVID-19 Tracker that CLD developed in April and CLD’s report on Maintaining the Right to Information During Health Emergencies.
Finally, Toby Mendel will also participate as a moderator and speaker in the series of panels on RTI hosted by UNESCO this week.
The Trends Snapshot is available at: RTI Rating Trends Snapshot.
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